What Year Should American History Begin?

American history is a subject that has been widely debated, especially when it comes to deciding the year in which it should begin. Many historians and scholars have argued that American history should begin at different points in time due to various reasons. In this article, we will explore some of the arguments made by historians and try to answer the question – what year should American history begin?

Pre-Columbian Era

One of the arguments made by historians is that American history should begin long before the arrival of Europeans in North America. This period is commonly referred to as the Pre-Columbian era. The period spans from approximately 12,000 BCE to 1492 CE, which marks the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas.

During this time, various indigenous communities lived on the North American continent. These communities had their own unique cultures, traditions, and ways of life. Many historians argue that these communities played an essential role in shaping American history and therefore, American history should begin with them.

The Colonial Era

Another argument made by historians is that American history should begin with the colonial era. This period begins with the arrival of Europeans in North America and continues until 1776 when the United States declared its independence from Great Britain.

The colonial era saw significant changes in North America as European powers began to establish colonies throughout the continent. The British established thirteen colonies on the eastern coast of North America, which would eventually become the United States.

This period also saw a clash between European colonizers and indigenous communities who had already been living on the continent for thousands of years.

The Revolutionary Era

The Revolutionary era is another significant period that many argue should mark the beginning of American history. This period begins with events leading up to the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and ends with ratification of Constitution in 1788.

During this time, Americans fought for their independence from Great Britain, and the United States was born. The Revolutionary era saw the emergence of great leaders like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin, who played an instrumental role in shaping American history.


In conclusion, the question of what year American history should begin is a complex one. Each period has its own unique significance, and each argument has its own merits. While some believe that American history should begin with the Pre-Columbian era and others argue that it should begin with the Revolutionary era, there is no right or wrong answer.

Regardless of where one chooses to begin American history, it is essential to remember that it is a story of a diverse group of people who have come together to form a nation unlike any other. It is important to continue exploring and understanding the different periods in American history to gain a deeper appreciation for how this nation was formed.